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Peter O'Toole Immortalized in Grauman's Chinese Theater Forecourt

PETER TOOLE IMMORTALIZED IN GRAUMAN’S CHINESE THEATER FORECOURT

He was Lawrence of Arabia, Beckett and the man of the year in My Favorite Year. On April 30, 2011, he was immortalized in cement among the gallery of over 200 other films stars in the forecourt of Grauman’s Chinese Theater. He is the one and only Peter O’Toole.

Angelica Houston, Jane Powell, Barbara Hershey and other celebrities and a large group of his fans from the past 50 years came to see Peter place his hands and footprints into a specially mixed “gold dust” color of cement. The first of it’s kind, in the 80 year history of this Hollywood tradition, took place in 1927 with Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks. The gold dust represents his epic appearance in 1962′s Lawrence Of Arabia, his first and most epic film.

Peter was flanked by two of his children, who came into his life well after the age of 50. Peter has outlived many of his talented and rogue contemporaries including Richard Harris, Richard Burton and Peter Finch. Many hilarious YouTube episodes from David Letterman, Jay Leno and other shows chronic Peter’s unique style, sense of humor and drinking stories of his legendary past.

One of the biggest events at this years Turner Classic Movie Festival, TCM’s Robert Osborne hosted the ceremony. On camera, Peter said at one time he actually worked for a cement company. Off camera he laughed and told stories of the many times he had “hit the cement” after a long night of drinking. While thousands of Oscars have been received since the 1920′s, less than 250 stars have been asked to stand in cement at The Chinese Theater. A very special tribute for a very special celebrity, Peter O’Toole.

HISTORY OF THE HAND AND FOOTPRINTS AT THE CHINESE THEATER

The hand and footprint ceremonies had its beginning in 1927, during the final days of construction of Grauman’s Chinese Theater.  During the course of construction, a accident occurred that later evolved to one of Hollywood's greatest tourist attractions: placing of celebrities' hand and footprints in the forecourt of the Chinese Theater. There have been many stories as to the origin of the tradition, and all can be dismissed as folklore. The most popular of these fabricated tales suggests that the idea for the hand and footprints was sparked when Sid Grauman witnessed Norma Talmadge step into fresh cement as she got out of her car while visiting the theater. It has also been the popular belief that Norma Talmadge was the first celebrity to place hand and footprints in the theater's forecourt. The true story, which lacks the glamour of the other tales, is that Sid Grauman was walking across the theater's forecourt when he was confronted by his chief cement mason, Jean Klossner, who scolded Sid for walking in the freshly laid cement. After making peace with Klossner, Sid asked Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and Norma Talmadge to come to the theater at once. Upon their arrival, he had them place their footprints in the new curbstone. However, the cement was nearly dry, causing the impressions too faint. In April, just three weeks before the completion of construction, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks were again invited back this time to formally place their hand and footprints and signatures in the center of the theater's forecourt. Thus, they became the first to formally make impression of there extremities in cement at the Chinese Theater. A few days later, Grauman had Talmadge make similar impressions next to those made by Pickford and Fairbanks. Knowing that the theater's grand opening was to occur on May 18, 1927, Norma Talmadge scribbled that date above her signature instead of the actual date she made the impressions. Since then, over two hundred of celebrities have had their hand and footprints and signature enshrined in the famous courtyard. The largest collection of Grauman's Chinese Theater and hand and footprint ceremonies is at hollywoodphotographs.com.


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